Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Month 6

Yesterday, Piper turned 6 months old. We are having a really hard time believing this and can't fathom how we got from this:

to this:

Piper is just the sweetest little girl who is very quick with the smiles, unless she's got a camera in her face. She is very inquisitive about all things right now and especially likes the computer and the camera. Sound like anyone else you know? Piper is trying SO hard to sit up unassisted, but still falls to the side or forward when she sits. She is currently enamored with her feet, so if she is sitting and catches sight of them, which happens most times, she ends up folded in half with toes in her mouth, happy as a clam!

This month, we had the priviledge to have Piper's dedication at our church. This was something that we did with Caleb too, but we were very new members and knew next to no one. This time around, we were surrounded not only by our family, but also our good friends who have loved us through good and bad. Piper was very happy and just sat in her Daddy's arms and looked adorable in her expensive dress. One of the more special things that our church does, along with giving Piper her first Bible, is the pastor writes a letter to each child that we are instructed to save until they make their decision to come to Christ. I have filed Piper's away and will be very excited to give it to her during that special time in her life.

Piper's gross motor skills continued to progress this month. I think that I wrote that late last month, Piper made the harder move of rolling from her belly to her back, but this month she has really perfected it. We have to be very vigilant to watch her when she is on the floor, as she has gotten herself in some pretty sticky situations a couple of times because she just rolls into things and all around the place. She is also working SO hard at crawling. Sometimes Piper gets so upset because she gets her hiney in the air, but not up on her hands and vice versa, but never at the same time. She wants to crawl so bad, but just can't yet and honestly, I'm ok with that.

Piper's fine motor skills are coming along too, but not nearly as quick as the other. She is able to pick up small things, but still with her whole hand, and not her first finger and thumb. I know her brother way way ahead of the curve on this, doing it well by this age, so I'm not worried about her not being able to do this quite yet.

Obviously, this last month brought Christmas. Even though we had a pretty low key day, just hanging out with my mom, dad and grandmother, it was still a day full of new things for our little P. She got the hang of opening the presents because she loves to grab and pull things, so that was easy.

My parents and grandmother all went in together and bought Piper the super deluxe Exersaucer model. We never had one of these with Caleb and I really wanted her to have one. She really loves sitting in it and all the things that she can do while there. Sometimes she still gets a little overstimulated, but all in all, it is her favorite Christmas gift!

Her other favorite gift was this light up, spinning top that sings and does all manner of things. She seemed to know right away what to do with it and played with it instantly. She will probably have much more fun with it when she can sit up independently, but for now we just sit and play with it either holding her or in her Bumbo seat.

Piper still has an intense love affair for her brother. Here are the two of them right before we went home Christmas night from my parent's house. She has a tight grip on Caleb's hair and he certainly doesn't care.

Piper also made it through her first annual Lee family Christmas that involves my sister, two brothers and their families, all in my parent's house for the fun. This year, we all were cutting back, so we decided to draw names for both the adults and the kids and Piper got this cute dress/leggings set that I had been admiring for sometime, and a precious pair of pajamas. She was well loved by my brother Damon's girls and she had fun watching everyone have a great time!

Here's the annual cousin picture after the Christmas party at my parent's house. From left to right: Caleb, Madison, Tristen, P, and Dixie. Matt was missing this year because he is in the navy now (we're all so proud) and has been stationed in Maine. Piper loved the Christmas tree and all the sparkle associated, so she was easily entertained by that.

Piper has developed her definite favorites when it comes to what she likes to eat. On her list of favorites are sweet potatoes, squash, an apple/pear mixture, bananas, blueberries and oatmeal. She really does not like peas and the above picture was her first experience with green beans. She did not like them, but I managed to get it all into her by mixing it in with some sweet potatoes. I am still making all of Piper's baby food and have yet to try anything that is canned/jarred with the exception of the oatmeal/rice cereals out there. I have recipes for those, but I'm not too sure that I'm able to make those.

Here's the face I see when she gets her fruit/oatmeal mixture. Happy girl!

Now that she's 6 months old, we get to start with meats and yogurt. We tried a little yogurt this morning with her daily banana/oatmeal concoction and she seemed to like it, once she got past the initial newness of it. The meat, I'm not so sure how I'm going to do that, but once again, I have recipes and I'll figure it out.

This month, Piper also made a new friend, our cat Gus. While she has noticed him all this time, Gus has finally found it in his heart to let her get near him. I don't know if it's that he's getting soft in his old age or just getting old, but he tolerates a little of her clumsy grabbing of him, until she pulls his whiskers or fur. Gus is a sweet cat and never retaliates, just runs off, so we don't worry about him. He is, in fact, quite protective of both our kids, especially when they are babies, watching every move we make and making sure that they are ok.

All in all, this has been a month full of changes and a lot of growing up for our Piper. We can hardly believe that she's already half way through her first year of life, but we can't wait for all the fun that we know is in store!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Well Then.

So, let's start with the easy part first. Piper's pediatrician was sick today, so we rescheduled her appointment for the 6th, so no stats today. I'll get her 6 month newsletter up in the next day or so.
Now, on to the other child. We had Caleb's ENT appointment this morning which started off with yet another hearing exam. Caleb would not cooperate for a portion of the test and even turned off one of the machines in the middle, prompting us to have to do one whole test over again from the beginning. Needless to say, we walked away from there without a completed test and a very annoyed audiologist.
What we do know from the test is this, his right ear is working perfectly but his left is a totally different story. The next step is that we have a test called an ABR done to test the nerve function to see if there is really a hearing deficit or if he's just being difficult. Our ENT does do ABRs in the office, but they do not sedate, which is not an option with our busy 3 year old. If he wouldn't sit and cooperate fully for the simple hearing exam, he wouldn't cooperate for the ABR. I never thought I would willingly ask for a test that involved sedation, but in this case to get answers, it's necessary.
There are two possible outcomes for this test:
1. his ABR will come back totally normal and we'll know that his hearing is ok and he's just difficult
2. his ABR will come back abnormal and we'll be looking at hearing aids
To be perfectly honest, this second possibility scares the living daylights out of me. I understand that there are many kids and grownups out there with hearing aids, but I also know the stigma that is attached to them. Someone told me that it is no different than wearing glasses, but in reality it is. Every other person on the planet wears glasses, so kids have someone to look to to know that they are normal, hearing impared kids, on the other hand, don't necessarily have that. I know that this is probably the most minor thing that could happen, but I'm to the point where I'm wondering when Caleb is just going to get a break. It seems like if something could go wrong for him, it has and the poor kid has been through too much, in my opinion, for his short 3 years. Ok, sorry. I'm just feeling sorry for him and us.
In the next few days we will be getting information about this office that we go to to have the test done, but I guess this means his speech evaluation for next week is off. Thanks for your prayers. I guess God has another path for our son, I just sure wished that I knew what that was.

Monday, December 29, 2008

So- Tomorrow is a Big Day.

Tomorrow, I take Caleb back to the ENT for his post surgery follow up and yet another hearing test. If he does not pass this one, I'm not sure what we do from here. The whole theory is that he's failing the hearing tests because of fluid in his ears, but the tubes should have taken care of all that. Oh, there's also that pesky speech evaluation he cannot have on the 8th if he doesn't pass the hearing test tomorrow.
Needless to say, there's quite a lot riding on this test and he HAS to have a good result or we're headed down a very unknown road.
Caleb's appointment is at 8:30 in the morning, so I'll know something well before lunch time. Piper has her 6 month appointment with the pediatrician right after, therefore it will be later in the day before I can post anything about the appointment. Hopefully we'll have good news the next time we meet!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

You HAVE To Read This

So, go to the link below and read the story. It restores a little faith in our society. With all the crud going on (hello, crazy man driving down the freeway shooting innocent people?) we all need a little of that once in a while.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Holiday Wishes

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the Mathis family to yours!
Jesse, Shannon, Caleb and Piper

Monday, December 22, 2008

Hm. I Wasn't Expecting That.

So, two blog posts in the same day. I guess either I'm really interesting today or just trying to put things off, like cleaning and laundry. Let's just go with the first one.
I wrote a week or two ago about taking Caleb to the pulmonologist and how he wanted to have him testing for allergies right.then. I had a thought this weekend that I should have probably heard back from them on the results, so I placed a call to the office. We were headed to Target so I was ready with a pen and paper the whole time so I could whip it out and write down all the things that "dinged" in his test if they called while we were in the store.
I got the phone call as we were on our way home and the respiratory therapist said something I was not expecting:
"All his tests came back negative."
They tested Caleb for all the vegetation and animals in this half of the US and also indoor allergens and he was not allergic to any of them. I was told that the test he had done was accurate and that even the allergic chemicals in his blood were very low, so he's not allergic to anything.
So, why does he have the symptoms he does? Apparently, he has a condition called nonallergic rhinitis. Basically, he has all the symptoms of having allergies without actually being allergic. If you read up on it, you treat this the same way (with all the medications) and it is triggered by things like changes in weather (something that I have always said is causing him symptoms).
So, in all it is pretty good news, just news that we don't know yet what to do with.

I Guess We Should Start Taking Up Collections Now.

When I met and, shortly thereafter, married Jes, I noticed one very astounding thing about this man I loved so dearly.
He could eat.
No, really, he could put it away and never, never, never gained even an ounce. This has since caught up with him thanks to my stellar (yeah right) cooking and his entering the 4th decade of life. My grandfather used to say he had a hollow leg, and at one point in time, I started to believe it everytime I went to the grocery store and spend so much money on 2 people.
When we found out we were having a boy, one of the many discussions we had was how he would be like his daddy. We all know that teenage boys are famous for their ability to pack it away, I just didn't think that it would happen so fast in my house.
This morning, in his first hour and a half awake, Caleb has eaten a breakfast bar (Nutrigrain type thing), applesauce, and a bowl full of oatmeal with bananas. Now he's asking for a peanut butter sandwich. Normally, I'm not one to deny my chid something to eat, but seriously, I had to say enough is enough.
Maybe I should start looking for another part time job now and save up for his teenage years if this is what he's like when he's 3!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

The 4th Thing

So, that was entirely too much information about the digestive goings on in our household, huh? Jes and I are on the mend, so I thought I would do this thing that has been going around the blogs that I love to read.
Basically, you go to your picture folder, go to the 4th folder within the pictures and post the 4th picture. Then you explain it. Here's mine:

This is Caleb and I at the Dallas Aquarium in front of the flamingo habitat. This was a couple of years ago when I was teaching the gymnasts and one of them needed to go to either the aquarium or the zoo for a school project. This photo was taken in mid-May, so it being in Texas, we chose the indoor spot.
Now, all of you do it too! It's so much fun to look back!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Last Two

Jes and I have the stomach thing now. Hopefully this is where it ends. Yuck.

Friday, December 19, 2008

On the Upswing?

Dare I say it? Oh, I'm not superstitious... I think we're getting better here in the land o' germs. Caleb has only "exploded" once today and Piper actually took something by bottle this morning, other than Pedialyte. P's appetite is still not what it was, but it took Caleb a few days to get back to eating somewhat normally, so I'm thinking it will be back to normal by Monday. She is still coughing, but I've been able to start her on some medication the doctor gave me to help with the congestion in her sinuses since the puking has stopped. It does seem to be helping and hopefully, she'll be past the worst of it in a couple of days. This is not new territory for us, but we're very thankful that it took nearly 6 months for her to get her first real illness.
Currently, I'm watching Caleb play in a laundry basket (clearly we need to get out!) and I've already had to banish him to his room 3 times this morning. Apparently, he's back to his old self.
We'll be staying in today and tomorrow and will reassess tomorrow night to consider church. Thankfully, we can watch church and join in via the Internet, so at least we'll be able to hear the message, if we can't be there in person!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

And Then...

The baby girl has it. Sigh.

On a positive note, I'm sitting here watching Caleb eat a grilled cheese and french fries from Sonic. He says his "tummy feels a lot better Mama", so let's hope it stays in him, right where it's supposed to be.

I ready to be done with this particular illness. So, this is what being a Mama of 2 sick kiddos is like. Well then.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Still Not Good

So, what a night/day we've had. Last night, Caleb spiked a fever. Higher than normal, but not yet high enough to call the surgeon. What's a mom to do? So, I called the pediatrician's on call nurse service. She told us exactly what we thought, push fluids, give a lukewarm bath, dress in light clothes, rest. We did it and he decided to eat a little before going to bed (with me, again.). We'd been lying in bed for just a few minutes and I heard the unmistakeable sound that no mom wants to hear come from your child who is lying in your bed - puke, on its way up. That's right, he puked. In my bed. All over himself. And me. Yuck.
Jes and I got him and the bed cleaned up and we tried it again. Eventually, he passed out and slept all night without hardly a whimper (hardly). Meanwhile, Jes tried to convince Piper to sleep in the other room.
This morning, bright and early brought on a mom's second worst nightmare, the d word. I called the ENT to see what exactly we should do and they were afraid that he might be having some type of allergic reaction to the antibiotic ear drops. Off the the doctor we went this afternoon only to be told that he has a stomach virus, probably "the one" that has been going around.
Are they serious? We've had this twice before! Anyway, Caleb will miss his last day of school tomorrow and we'll be hunkering down here in the house praying that Piper doesn't succumb to it. I'll be on the hunt for this little bug and spraying it into oblivion with my trusty can of Lysol tonight. Have a good evening all!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


The last 36 or so hours have been pretty difficult around here with Caleb's recovery. He has the normal aches and pains that come with the procedure he had early yesterday morning, but added to that he has his normal issues from his asthma that seem to rear its ugly head each time he has a surgery. (Boy, that was some sentence.)
Caleb was diagnosed with asthma when he was 9 months old and is highly medicated. In fact, he is on the highest dosage of all the medications that he is on that would be safe for his age group. The only times that he has difficulties or you even know that he has asthma is when he is either sick (including allergies) or has had surgery. With his first and this last surgery, he was not intubated as the surgery was very short and it was not needed, but he still had/has symptoms. Needless to say, we are doing breathing treatments every 4 hours and following the same protocol that we have for each of these incidents.
The other issue we are having with Caleb right now is that he will not eat. Last night he was complaining of a tummy ache, but did manage to eat a container of apple sauce. In the time since his surgery, he has had the following to eat:
- 2 popscicles (directly after surgery, at the hospital)
- 1 cheese stick
- 1 breakfast bar (Nutrigrain type thing)
- 1 container of apple sauce
- 1 cracker
We have tried offering him everything that we have and nothing is what he wants. He seems like he does not feel bad, but just won't eat! We are falling back on an old standby, a Happy Meal. Even at his most sick, he has always eaten at least part of one, so Jes is going to stop and get one on the way home. He is drinking lots, so we'll see what happens. Hopefully, by this time tomorrow he'll be eating us out of house and home again!

Monday, December 15, 2008


This morning was Caleb's surgery. I was up bright and early at 4:45 am (!) and he was up around 5. We got ourselves together, he took his asthma meds and we were out the door. When we had his tonsil and adenoids out, we left about the same time of morning and hit a good bit of traffic, so I decided that we would do the same this morning and probably wouldn't arrive too early. I guess with this cold front that blew in (um, hello? could it be colder in that 30mph wind? yikes!), many people weren't out yet. We made it to the hospital with about 20 minutes to spare, so Caleb and I drove around and looked at Christmas lights. We quickly discovered that not many people still have their lights on at 5:45 in the morining, but we did manage to find a few and get a giggle out of others.
We were able to get into the surgery center around 6ish and checked in. There was another little boy before us, so we had to wait for a little while. I could totally tell that his mom and dad had not done this before and that he was new to the surgery thing too. Because of their freshman status, the staff and the doctor (ours too) took a little extra time with their family.
Caleb was taken back, given the liquid medication to make him loopy and was wheeled back into the OR around 7:30. I managed to get a cup of coffee and address 1 Christmas card, looked up and the doctor was walking toward me. He said that the placement of the tubes was very easy, but he did see fluid in each ear and that it drained right out. We will go back for a follow up appointment in a couple weeks and will do another hearing test then to determine if the tubes are successful.
We left the hospital at 8:25 and Caleb has been home for 2 hours now and is playing his computer and is acting like nothing happened (except for the fact that he is still slightly drunk from the medication. It's pretty funny watching him try to walk and stand in one place!). We are hoping Caleb will be able to go to school tomorrow for at least the morning as they are doing a project that I really don't want him to miss. Thanks for all the prayers and well wishes!

Friday, December 12, 2008

About Jes

I've seen this on several blogs and I just love these things. I've done these before, but this one is slightly different and we can look back on this in 10 years and see how things have change.
1. He's sitting in front of the TV, what is on the screen? As long as he has the remote, it's usually something about motorcycles, guns, old westerns or, lately, the military channel.
2. You're out to eat; what kind of dressing does he get on his salad? if they have it, honey mustard
3. What's one food he doesn't like? cooked carrots
4. You go out to the bar. What does he order? we don't go to bars, but he will get Dr. Pepper or Coke with lime when we go out to dinner
5. Where did he go to high school? North Valley High in Grant's Pass, Oregon
6. What size shoe does he wear? 13
7. If he was to collect anything, what would it be? motorcycles
8. What is his favorite type of sandwich? ham and cheese with ranch dressing on one side and mustard on the other. I know, I don't get it either.
9. What would he eat every day if he could? hot dogs. (yuck)
10. What is his favorite cereal? Raisin Bran or anything sugary. When I shop for cereal, I either look like I'm buying for a house full of kids or senior citizens.
11. What would he never wear? Anything pink or purple or with the Dallas Cowboy's logo on it.
12. What is his favorite sports team? SF 49ers and the Dallas Mavericks. He's a study in contradication.
13. Who did he vote for? McCain. He's very opinionated on many issues, so he was the logical choice.
14. Who is his best friend? Me. He has guy friends, but they don't know him like I do. I guess that would be a question for him.
15. What is something you do that he wishes you wouldn't do? Slam doors. I'm a recovering door slammer when I get mad. I relapse from time to time and it drives him nuts!
16. How many states has he lived in? Let's see, Oregon, California, Texas. That's 3.
17. What is his heritage? Rural Oregon.
18. You bake him a cake for his birthday; what would it be? Well, he doesn't like cake all that much, so I would be taking myself to the bakery and buying a pie. His favorite is strawberry rhubarb, but I've yet to find a place that makes one.
19. Did he play sports in high school? He was great at track and field. Cross Country, high jump, etc.
20. What could he spend hours doing? Riding his motorcycle, or for as long as his body would allow.
21. What's something cool about him? He LOVES his kiddos and is very passionate about what happens to them. I could never have imagined that I would be so luck to end up with a guy who loves his kids like his does.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Small Victories

So, what a downer the past few posts have been, huh? Sorry about all that. We're just up to our eyeballs in 3 year old-ness.
The past week or so have been super busy with MOPS, me finishing up the semester at work, and all the Christmas stuff that has been going on. With all that, Caleb, Piper and I have been spending more time than usual out and about doing what needs to be done. I have to say that Caleb has been so great through all this. His behavior is getting so much better.
Yesterday, Caleb had a pulmonologist's appointment at the hospital. The boy that was right before us was a Down Syndrome child and was particularly difficult for the doctor to examine. (We knew this because our exam room was right next door to his.) We waited for over an hour to see our doctor and Caleb behaved very well. He watched the movie that the nurse chose for us and only tried to get to the tv and another DVD once or twice. Each time, I was able to tell him no and he immediately complied.
The doctor then decided that we needed to do allergy testing in Caleb, right then. That day. In the hospital. I don't know if y'all have all done a simple blood draw in an outpatient lab in a hospital before, but it involves the same check in procedure as surgery. Caleb was great through all of this. The only time he had a moment was when he saw the needle that they were to draw his blood with. He vividly remembers all the IV pokes from last year when he was in the hospital, so he did whimper a little bit, but was a trooper the whole time.
We left the hospital around 5.5 hours after we arrived and all of us were in one piece and still happy with each other. It was a small victory!
Today, he decided that he HAD to go to the bathroom before we went to his classroom before school. After he did his business and washed his hands, he decided that he was not. going. to. ride. on. the. stroller. I thought for sure it would be a fight to get him to his classroom without his running off or us getting into it. No, he walked calmly beside the stroller all the way to his room.
Like my title says, it's the small victories in life that encourage me that this whole situation might be turning around.
Coming up soon, pictures of Piper at her baby dedication on Sunday in a ridiculously expensive outfit. In fact, you may see her in this dress until she's 2! Monday is Caleb's surgery, so there will be a post about that too.
Thanks for all the patience with all the doom and gloom around here. I promise it will get better, it has to!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

"The" Meeting and a Surgery Date

So, Thursday I had the meeting with Caleb's Mother's Day Out director. Let me just preface this by saying that while I talk a good game, I am one to avoid confrontation at all costs. Just the thought of having to have this discussion with her made me break out into a cold sweat, but I knew that I had to be the grown up and do it. I got some much needed advice and a fabulous pep talk from my good friend Courtney. She never fails to boost my confidence!

The director and I sat in her office and had a rather nice conversation. We talked for around an hour about all the ins and outs of what she has seen in Caleb over the past nearly 3 years that he has been at the school. Come to find out, she has a son who has severe ADD and had a terrible time in school over the years. He turned out to be a great boy and is about to graduate from college, so most of her experiences with teachers have been far and away worse than what we have gone through in the past couple of years. The conversation just really cemented in my mind that we know Caleb best and that most of the time, the teachers really don't know the child, and frankly don't care to.

Sorry to fall back on bullets, but that is the best way for me to organize what we discussed. Here goes:

- We both agreed that we did not feel there was anything wrong with Caleb. She has seen the gamut of issues with kids through the years, not to mention living with one with a learning issue and one without, and I trust her judgement when she says that what was implied by Caleb's teachers is just not the case. So let's do a quick count here, 2 parents, 3 doctors, 1 speech pathologist and 1 diagnostician all say he's got nothing wrong. 2 Mother's Day Out teachers who don't really know my kid (coming later) say that he's ill. Hm. You do the math.

- The director totally supported our decision to take Caleb out and homeschool him on the days he would normally be in school. She even told me that she still lives with massive amounts of guilt over not doing that for her son, as he apparently needed it. To be perfectly honest, when I talk with friends and family who are educators themselves about our decision to homeschool, they become particularly silent. Not the silent where they are listening, but I can see them biting their tongues. This used to bother me, but I've learned to have confidence in our choices as parents. We know that Caleb is just excelling in this setting right now and he's not a bad kid, he just needs me and one on one time, so he'll get it.

- She was very open to listen to me about Caleb's health issues from the past and actually took into account the fact that those same health issues could be part of the problems here. One such example, Caleb was quite a severe aspirator until he was nearly 2. The muscles that are used for swallowing are also somewhat used for other things, um like speech (!). He also has issues with severe allergies and asthma and this time of the year is very difficult, healthwise, for him as he is on at least 6 medications daily. No one, and I mean no one, else at that school would listen to me when I tried to explain that to them. They just wanted to write him off as "that" kid. He's gotten somewhat of a label through all this and I'm working on ways to remedy that situation, or at least get him away from those teachers. In fact, one day I went to pick him up and they mentioned that he was coughing a lot while running around. I asked if they had given him his inhaler and, I kid you not, they asked if his had asthma. Um, what is that mountain of health information paperwork we filled out for? Did you even listen to me when I told you his inhaler is in the bag? Do you not talk to the other teacher, whom I told this to as well that morning? Needless to say, I medicate him BEFORE he goes now.

- We both feel like some of this is also coming from the fact that our Caleb is still having quite a difficult time acclimating to life with his sister. He seems to be doing better, but Jes and I are trying to make more of an effort to make sure he feel included and gets enough one on one attention. It is getting easier, as Piper is getting older and is a little less needy. When Piper was born, Caleb essentially lost his father, as he is just in love with her, and I was so caught up in the feeding/pumping/diapering/recovering from surgery game that it was almost impossible to give him the attention he had before she came along. I am not blaming Jes for any of this, he does blame himself though (one of his first comments after this all started happening was that he felt like he did this to him and that he caused this. We are working through this.), which is one of the worst things about parenting, thinking you did this to your kid. We have had to really talk our way through all this and are finally coming out on the other side.

The last part of this is that the teachers had to fill out a very abbreviated set of paperwork, similar to what we had to fill out on the skills that Caleb may or may not have. I didn't look at my copy until today, and I was furious after I read it. I had Jes read it too and he felt the same way. It is very apparent to me that these teachers, who have been with him for months now, don't even know our son. I'm not sure how they came to the conclusions that they did when they filled out the paperwork, but most of what they said he could not do, he in fact does do well with us. I know it's a very short time period of the week and I know that he's not cooperating, but my fear is that the diagnostician and speech therapist will put more stock into what they say than what we say. I'll be calling on Monday.

I think that's all about that meeting that was decided/talked about. Caleb will be having his tubes put in on the 15th of this month. The one issue that we are coming up against is that he HAS to pass a hearing test before they can do his complete speech evaluation on the 8th of January. We are hoping and praying that these tubes will help him do just that. After he has his tubes put in, we go back just about 2 weeks after the procedure and have another hearing test done. That's the one he needs to pass. If he doesn't, we reschedule the speech evaluation and try to figure out what our next step is. I hate the unknown!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

We Won't Be Pursuing a Musical Career for Him.

Overheard coming from Caleb's room this afternoon:

We Wish You a Merry Christmas
We Wish You a Merry Christmas
We Wish You a Merry Christmas
And a Happy Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

5 Months

This has been quite a month for our little Piper! As you can see from the first picture, she has grown so much and is getting to be quite the personality. This month, Piper discovered she can make noise at will and spares no moment doing just that. She squeals almost constantly, but most of the time she's happy. She is such a delight and keeps all of us smiling throughout the day. Piper is still a very happy baby. She wakes up with smiles on her face, not crying, and goes to sleep smiling too. She loves being at home and loves it even more when we are all with her. While we have heard Piper giggle a little a few times before, this month was when we were able to get her to laugh out loud. She loves to be tickled and will laugh for just Jes and I when we play with or tickle her. It is really the sweetest sound!
This past month we all celebrated Halloween. We, as a family, do not participate in the traditional activities of the day, but rather prefer to go to church for a Fall Festival type of event. This was the second year that our church in McKinney decided to have a different, but equally beneficial, event for the community, so we went to my parent's church. My parents joined a new church this year, so we were ill prepared as what to expect. We were blown away at the event that they had planned for their community! Both Caleb and Piper had a great time and P got to wear her pumpkin costume. She was the cutest pumpkin there! Here she is with myself and Caleb (Larry the Cucumber again this year!).
This month, Piper has become quite mobile. She rolled from her back to her belly just after she hit the 4 month mark, and just a couple of days ago, she rolled from her belly to her back, the harder move, all on her own. I thought for sure it was just a fluke, but she did it again just a few minutes later, proving me wrong! Piper is just very motivated to get moving, it seems. We have observed her scooting and moving across the floor just to get to a book or toy that she wants. I think that she'll be moving much sooner than her brother ever did, as she just acts like she so wants to catch up with us! Piper, just like her brother, also loves to jump! She is going to build up our biceps and triceps with all the jumping that she does when we're holding her. Some times, especially right after a nap, she is not content to just sit in our laps, but wants to be standing. If she's standing, she feels like she needs to be jumping. What can we say, she's a girl on the move!
Piper has started really eating solid food this month. We gave her a little cereal as her first food at the end of her last month, but she has really taken to eating the good stuff this month. With Caleb, I wanted to make our own baby food, but with all his health issues and the anxiety of being a first time mom, I just couldn't get it together enough to do it. I was determined to try it with Piper and that's all she's eating! We have a type of indoor farmer's market near us where I go to buy the produce for Piper's food and I just cook it and freeze it in ice cube trays. Piper's favorites right now include an apple/pear mixture with oatmeal, sweet potatoes, squash, blueberries, and bananas. She's still not too sure about peas, but that one is our current project to get her to eat!
Piper loves, loves, loves to go places! We keep a pretty busy schedule around the Mathis house, with something to go to and do everyday of the week. Lately, it's actually been somewhat cold around our neck of the woods, so I have had to bundle her up quite frequently. This blanket that you seen in the bottom of the picture above is her absolute favorite. If this is in her car seat, she has a tight grip on it and may chew on it from time to time. I have to sneak this away from her at night every once in a while to wash it so that it doesn't get too gross. This blanket was made by my cousin Ashley, so I may need to see if she has anymore of this material to make another, just in case!

As you can see from the last two pictures, Piper has this finger in her mouth quite a bit. She liked her pacifiers in the beginning, but has completely given them up in the past 2 months and her first finger has taken it's place. She doesn't really suck or chew on her finger, it's just in her mouth. It's really quite funny.
Yet again, this month has brought out many fun things in our little girl. Many moments, Jes and I are looking at her and at each other wondering how to freeze time for a little bit so that we can enjoy her a little more at each stage. Piper is a wonderful baby, hardly fussing, and is just such a joy to us all the time. She is so very laid back about most situations and just loves to watch and observe. Her mind is constantly going and you can tell that she's just taking in all of her surroundings at all time. We are so very blessed to have such a sweet spirited baby!

Friday, November 28, 2008


I had high hopes to post some deep and thoughtful (or at least picture laden) words about Thanksgiving yesterday. However, after a fun filled day at my parents, we brought home two exhausted children and crashed.
It seems that the stomach bug that has been going around has come back to visit the Mathis household. Both Jes and Caleb have it, but there is no vomiting happening, just the opposite. It was so bad for Caleb yesterday that right before we left my parent's (and the catalyst to get home) we discovered he had had an accident and his little legs were burned from the acidic poo. Today, he has only had one incident, but it was so bad we had to just put him in the shower to get him clean.
So, all in all, I've been up to my elbows in poo and the associated laundry that goes along with all this fun! I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Just Add It To The List of Things To Do.

We just got home from the ENT. Caleb passed his hearing tests with the audiologist, but he was determined to have a little fluid in one ear. This is the same song and dance we went through last year with the other ENT (remember the one with the PA who called our house and tried to pressure us into surgery, called us bad parents and generally harrassed us?).
Anyway, when I was talking with his (fabulous!!!) ENT, we discussed our options. Here they are:
A. load him up on more medication and see if it fixes the problem.
B. put tubes in his ears.

The problem with choice A is that Caleb already takes 4 different medications just for allergies and the things that are associated with them, middle and inner ear fluid included. If he has this fluid on all that, one more is not likely to fix the problem.
We chose option B. While it is another surgery to add to the list, this should fix the issue.
For those of you not familiar with what the problem is, let me put on my professor hat and explain.
There is a tube that connects your middle ear (the part behind your eardrum) with the back of your nose/throat area. In an adult, this tube is more vertical and all the fluid and gunk can drain into the the nose/throat area and then down to your stomach where the germs cannot survive and are done away with. In alot of children, this tube is more horizontal than vertical, so any fluid or stuff that gets in there will just sit, stagnate and the bacteria will multiply, causing infection and hearing loss. The older you get, the more the connection is made correctly between your ear and the nose/throat area and the less likely you are to get infections.
Caleb's ears are not so bad that he's getting infections, he's never had one in fact. However, fluid in your ears impairs hearing. Just imagine what it is like to try to hear correctly when you are under water in a swimming pool. That's what it sounds like when you have too much fluid...
Anyway, the tubes should fix the problem. We should be able to get in and have them done next week. I'll update when I know when and where.

Our Comings and Goings

Friday, I took Caleb for his hearing and vision screening with the school district. This is just a normal thing that they do for all the kiddos to get some type of baseline. Caleb passed his vision screening with flying colors, but failed the hearing. When I say that they did a hearing screen, I mean they put little sensors in his ears and a machine measured the movement of his eardrum and other associated structures. Caleb has probably had 10 to 12 of these test in the past 2 years alone and has passed 1. We are going, today, to the ENT to meet with the audiologist and have another round of extensive hearing tests done to determine if there is truely a problem.

Just as a side note, we were at the ENT just last week and his ears were completely clear. While I know that things can change in a heartbeat with these kids, I don't think he has any hearing loss. If he's anything like his Mama, he will have fluid in his ears from time to time at all times without it affecting his hearing. We'll see what the doctor and audiologist have to say today.

We have all been sick in our house lately with the exception of little P. That has all changed. She has officially succumbed to whatever it is that has been plaguing us for the past week. Caleb was the first to have it and Jes and I are on the tail end of what ever this is. This morning, P woke up with her eyes watering and she's coughing, sneezing, etc. I'm very thankful that I'm not still in the big middle of this illness and having to take care of 2 sick kiddos. That ends up in disaster for all involved... Anyway, we're sucking out lots of snot, holding of each other and I'll be tenting the house and spraying it down with Lysol later. If you drive by and it looks like we have a termite issue, you now know it's really a germ issue.

Yesterday was my Mama's birthday. I won't tell you how old she is, but I will tell you that she has a 31 year old daughter who people often confuse for her sister. She a young 'un, even still.

A picture of my Mama and her favorite people.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Change In Perspective

Caleb has been a hellion lately. He's not been acting right and isn't making anymore improvements on his behavior. I'm thankful that I have him. He's here and, while he does have his issues and difficulties, he's mostly healthy and we are lucky to even have him. He's our miracle baby, after all.

Wednesday, Caleb got a pretzel/marshmallow concoction lodged in his throat. The Heimlich maneuver was performed and he was ok. I'm thankful that he had a teacher who knew that procedure and cared enough to jump into action before harm was done to him.

Even though we are working SO hard around the Mathis household, this recession, or whatever they are calling it, is causing us to make serious cuts around our house. I'm thankful that we have things we can cut and we're not losing our house or our livelihood.

Jes and I get crazy sometimes with all the stress and tend to snipe at each other. The economy and our busy schedules make it hard to always be nice. I'm thankful that no matter how hard things get, I have a man who committed to staying with me 7.5 years ago and he's not going anywhere.

We have just about decided 100% that we will pull Caleb out of the Mother's Day Out program that he's been in for the past 3 years due to both the issues he's dealing with and financial strains. I'm thankful that he's been able to go for that long and that he's made some lasting friendships in the process.

When Caleb transitions to home, I will start teaching him with curriculum that I chose long ago to keep him on his upward path toward the knowledge that he so craves. He's got this momentum and drive and curiosity that I am committed to continuing for him. I'm thankful that I am able to homeschool him and that our state government won't try to harrass me for this.

Jes told me just a day or two ago that his company has started letting people go. He's in the aviation industry, one that does not weather tough economic times well. We wonder everyday if he's next. I'm thankful that my husband is brilliant, is high up enough in the company that the whole thing would have to fold and that he has a job to begin with.

I am crazy busy with the end of the semester stuff, grading, test making, etc. It takes a little time from my family and is sometimes a drag to get to since it is getting dark so early. I'm thankful that I have this job, that they are so supportive of me and that I continue to have students that are highly loyal and fill my classes every single semester (when other classes get cancelled due to low enrollment.).

All in all, I'm thankful for all I have. This blog and my writings here may not reflect that all the time as I'm not great at seeing the positive in all things, yet. I know that we are held and that all our steps and actions are led by Him. He has a plan that we don't know or see, but it's the best way for us. He has given me a loving and wonderful husband who works so very hard to support us, a brilliant and caring and spunky son who pushes me everyday to be a better mom and a gorgeous and sweet natured little girl that is the bright spot in my darkest of days. I'm a lucky and blessed woman. That's why I'm thankful.

Have a great Thanksgiving all!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Caleb's Evaluation

Here's what we found out in Caleb's evaluation. Since I'm quite tired, I'm falling into bullet form. It's the only way I can keep things straight right now...

1. He does not have autism, sensory integration disorder, etc. There was no official evaluation for just those problems, but from what the diagnostician and the speech pathologist were able to observe, they were fairly certain that those issue do not exist. We knew that anyway.

2. Caleb will be having vision and hearing to rule any problems out with those. He had extensive hearing test done back when the ENT tried to force us into tubes for him, about 1.5 years ago. He passed those tests and had no hearing loss then, but to rule out problems with his hearing we're going to test him again. It is a normal screening that is done for all kids that are being evaluated to any program within the school district, so we're going to jump on that one. One less copay!

3. The speech pathologist said that his verbal skills are good but he may have some articulation issues that we need to work on. We set up an formal evaluation for that in January, after the holidays, to have that done to further investigate if this is even an issue. Some of this may be tied to the issues that Caleb had with swallowing as all of those movement are somewhat tied in together. If he has to have some speech therapy, fine. If not, we'll continue to work with him at home.

4. Both the diagnostician and the speech pathologist said that Caleb has very good problem solving skills and was able articulate his answers well. He is not behind, but ahead somewhat in his verbal capacity, so we're not worried with that. Again, the official evaluation in January will tell us more.

5. Both the diagnostician and the speech pathologist will go to Caleb's school and do a 3rd party evaluation of his day there. This is the part of all this that makes me the most happy since the teachers can never give me detailed information on what is precipitating or causing the behavior that they have seen. I have wanted someone to go observe since this whole thing started, but I know that Caleb would not act the way he is now if I were in the class. This is going to answer a bunch of questions for us that we have been having lately, not just related to behavior.
Some of our concern is that Caleb is just really bored with what they are trying to teach the kids. He knows and has known his letters and numbers for nearly 2 years now and is actually starting to read and trying to write (of course with help). Therefore, circle time where they are teaching letters and numbers is so below his ability. We are discussing a school change in the possible future or just pulling him out all together and start doing school at home now.

6. We have a mountain of paperwork to fill out and will be working on that together for a little while. The teachers also have to fill out some paperwork on what they see him doing and not doing, skill wise. I'm not sure how accurate that will be with 12 kids, some of them difficult, in the class, but at least it will give a little insight into what they see or don't see.

7. Today, while it didn't give us any real concrete answers, did provide a measure of relief in knowing that our instincts were correct. Mostly, the diagnostician and speech pathologist think that Caleb is reacting to the major changes that have occured in his little world since Piper's arrival. He went from being the center of our world and having everything revolve around him to not and he is just not dealing with it well. We are really trying to anticipate the behaviors and head them off at the pass, but sometimes it sneaks up on us and he just loses it.

8. Lastly, they were all pretty astounded at how smart our little stinker is. There were particularly impressed that Caleb procured my cell phone and navigated through the menus to find a game that he wanted to play and did it with ease. We have never taught him to do any of this, so that was surprising to them. Caleb can also log onto the internet, type in the site he wants to pull up and navigate that as well. So, at least someone else sees how bright he is and the trouble we will probably be in for in the future!

The observation at school will probably happen right after Thanksgiving, so I'll be able to give more information and hopefully, insight then about what goes on when he is there. We'll be eagerly anticipating that information! Thanks for all your support, well wishes and love!

Thursday, November 13, 2008


So there have been a couple of new developments in the ongoing saga that is Caleb and his behavior.

1. Let me just start with something positive. Caleb has had a few pretty good days in a row at school, at least as far as I know. When I ask how he has been, it's like pulling teeth to get an accurate, straight forward answer instead of a shoulder shrug and, "he's been ok", or "well, you know". Hm. I guess that's a positive thing.
(You have to excuse my attitude with the whole thing.)

2. We found a play therapist here in McKinney and scheduled an appointment a week and a half ago. Even with our insurance, we will be required to pay a sum that is higher than we can afford for each visit. Last night, Jes and I discussed it and decided to cancel our appointment and wait for the evaluation through the school district. This morning I got a phone call from the therapist's office saying that they needed to cancel our appointment because the therapist was leaving the practice and they didn't want us starting with someone who wouldn't be there for the long haul. Ok. Fine with us. Done deal.

3. Thirty minutes later, I get a phone call from the school district stating that they had had a cancellation for an appointment that fell on an earlier date that ours. That day is Monday. As in 3 days from now. I was so excited/relieved/nervous/grateful/etc. that I nearly did a back flip in the PT parking lot this morning. We are just so ready to get this show on the road and get Caleb whatever help he might need. This testing time is right after a busy morning with MOPS, so we will be out and he'll be tired and hopefully ready to "perform".

4. I have had other people who have approached me about Caleb and tried to diagnose him with what they think is his problem. I have had to start telling them to stop. Unless the person is a diagnostician and has intimate knowledge of my son, they cannot make a diagnosis. I really do appreciate all the concern from these people, but most of them have not been with Caleb for more than 2 - 3 hours at a time and really don't know what he is like for a long period of time. I guess we're just getting really tired of hearing that there is "something wrong"

5. I called Caleb's pediatrician last week, after some thought to see if it would be adventageous of us to have a sleep study performed on him. If you know us, or have been following this blog for awhile, you have heard me comment on his sleep issues. These seemed to have resolved somewhat, since the removal of his tonsils and adenoids, however, we don't sleep with him and can't monitor if he is having apneic episodes. The pediatrician said it might be a good avenue to persue, so I made an appointment with our ENT. We saw him today and he did a thorough exam on Caleb, listened to me (the thing I love about him most. Seriously, if all doctors were like him, our medical system would be so much different and better!), and gave me very sound medical and practical advice. His diagnosis: Caleb is a 3 YEAR OLD BOY!, does not appear to have ADD/ADHD and does not need a sleep study that would be very uncomfortable and miserable for both him and his Mama. Thank you very much. Worth the $10 copay!

I just wanted to give a short update as I haven't been around to update the blog lately. We are entering the end of the school semester, so I'm up to my eyeballs in grading and test making, just like every other semester. I will, however, update when I get some type of answers from the evaluation on Monday.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

A Snapshot of My Morning

6:30- Up and at em. Getting Caleb ready for school and Piper and myself ready for the day.

8:25- Begin to load Caleb's backpack and get his folder out to take out his sheets from Tuesday.

8:30- Try to decipher what the teacher has written on the paper.

8:45- Realize it says "Don't forget to bring a pumpkin Thursday!"

8:45:30- Have a minor panic attack!!!

8:45:45- Yell to Caleb to run, run, RUN to the car and get in his car set. He, thankfully, does what he is told, this time.

8:48- On the road, both kids in tow.

8:50- Call Jes frantically, asking where I might find a small pumpkin. At this point, my two choices are Home Depot or Albertson's.

8:53- Decide that, in fact, Albertson's is my best hope at this early int he morning.

8:58- Pull into Albertson's and drag Caleb out of the car and tear Piper's carrier out on the way.

9:01- Run into the store, find the first clerk I can and ask where the pumpkins are.

9:03- Grab the pumpkin, pretty cute and just the right size, take off toward the checkout.

9:05- Try to check out at the self checkout line and be polite to a woman who wants to oohh and ahh over Piper. Try not to look too frazzled. I am a southern woman after all. Politeness is key!

9:07- Back in the car, on the way to school. Whew...

9:20- Make it to school with a few minutes to spare.

9:21- Drag the stroller out (too much to carry to hold Piper this morning). Put Piper in and Caleb on the back (we have a sit and stand).

9:23- Small fit from Caleb because he wants to hold the pumpkin.

9:24- Give in and let Caleb hold the pumpkin. But tell him DO NOT DROP IT!!!

9:26- Make it into the school. Telling Caleb, "DO NOT DROP YOUR PUMPKIN!!!"

9:27- Tell Caleb (who is sitting very quietly holding the pumpkin (ADD my foot!)), "DO NOT DROP YOUR PUMPKIN!!!!!"

9:28-9:29- Tell Caleb, "DO NOT DROP YOUR PUMPKIN!!!!!!"

9:30- Caleb hands me his pumpkin. Guess what?

I dropped the pumpkin...

It cracked right down the middle and started oozing pumpkin juice.


Tuesday, November 04, 2008

A Couple of Updates

1. Today, I was able to find a play therapist in McKinney for Caleb to go see. Our first appointment is next Friday, the 14th. However, this appointment is just for Jes and I, so we're now looking for a baby sitter for Caleb from around 2:45 to 4ish. Any takers?
Our insurance will cover this therapist, but how much they cover is based on how serious his issues are and how they code them. It seems that the sicker he is, the more they will pay for. Now, doesn't that seem counterintuitive to you? Anyway, we're going to try it until we get into the testing for the school district and see what needs to happen. Hopefully, we won't have to sell a limb/house/car/first born (oh, wait that would cause another problem now wouldn't it) to pay for all this... (I wish I were kidding...)

2. Yesterday, after I got home from my MOPS meeting, I discovered a message on the answering machine from the Frisco School District. This is the school district we live in and they are the ones doing Caleb's evaluation for testing to see if there is something to all the claims that he may have something wrong. Seems to be that a conference just magically appeared that EVERYONE in the testing area his HAS to go to so we've been pushed off until December. I was pretty mad about this, but what can we do.

3. Yes, I voted. Don't ask me for whom. If you know me at all, you know that answer.

That's all I know now. Thanks for playing.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

4 Months

Ok, so does anyone know what is going on with my pictures here??? I can't figure out how to fix them and get rid of that annoying white border thing.
So, anyway to the business at hand. Today my baby Piper is 4 months old. Can you believe it??? I know I can't. We have been blessed beyond belief with this little girl. She so happy and content, but so very fun and lively and we can hardly imagine what our life was like without her. Jes dotes on her like none other and Caleb asks about her before anyone else. Needless to say, the boys in our house are in love with the youngest girl and it makes this mommy pretty happy!

Piper weighs 15 pounds, 7.5 ounces and is about 25 inches long. I'm writing this from memory, so I may be a little off in my numbers. She is sitting up, not on her own, but much better with assistance and still loves her Bumbo seat. Piper rolled over a month ago, the day after her 3 month "birthday", so we can't report that as a recent occurance, but she has really perfected the back to tummy roll lately. She has, also, finally found her feet. The day she discovered that they were there was one of the funniest days for us. She would just stare at them and bend herself in half to get to them to look at them up close, sometimes crossing her eyes just to try to focus on them. When she finally grabbed one while laying on her back, she could not figure out how to let go and got a little frustrated trying to work that one out. I hate to admit it, but I let her work at it and let her get pretty frustrated before I did anything about it, giggling the whole time at her antics.

Piper has discovered her voice this past month too. On any given day you will hear her exercising her voice, making some pretty funny sounds. At times it almost sounds like she's unhappy, but to mama and daddy's trained ears, we know she's just warming up for all the conversation coming our way. This month has also given way to giggles from her for the first time. Piper does not laugh really loud and even when she really get going, it sounds more like a low, belly laugh than anything else. It is really one of the best sounds to hear, if you can.

As you can see, Piper's hair is really starting to come in well. She still doesn't have quite enough for even the smallest bow to be clipped into it, but I predict by Christmas she might have enough. Her hair has started to lighted as well and it looks like it's going to be about the color of her brother's and my (natural) color, a dark, dirty blonde. Her baby acne cleared up really well, but we still have the cradle cap hanging on.

This month, Piper abandoned her pacifier for good. Even at her most upset, she absolutely will not take it. She instead prefers this index finger. Most times when she is happy or busy looking at something, it will be in her mouth. With the way things are going with her, I shouldn't get too attached to her doing this as she is maturing so fast that she'll probably give this up too.

Sometimes that finger just doesn't move quite as far as her head and she ends up looking like this at times. Cute!

Piper is still such an expressive little girl. She loves to smile at the people she knows, but do not be surprised if you approach her and she cries. Our pediatrician seems to think that she may have already developed a touch of stranger anxiety at this young age. He told us he's seen it in babies even younger than her, so we're thinking that's probably what is going on. She's very attached to myself, Jes and Caleb and has been known to be upset when one of us walks out of her field of vision. She follows our every move as we travel about the house, just to make sure she knows where we are.

A few days ago I decided to try to give Piper her first bit of solid food. We were at my parent's house and we were thinking her reflux was making her tummy hurt (turns out she was just hungry), so we made up some cereal and I fed it to her. She still has a little trouble keeping it all in her mouth but she's learning and doing really well so far. I have discovered that she loves oatmeal too. I made some for her, fed her most of it and turned around to get a wet cloth to clean her face with. When I turned back around, she was licking it off her bib! I would say that's a hit! I have also decided to try my hand at making our own baby food too. This weekend, if you need me, I'll be busy roasting vegetables and pureeing fruits in preparation for freezing.
Happy Halloween to all of you! Expect more pictures of the kiddos soon all dressed up!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Post In Which You are Tired of Looking At Pictures of Our Family.

So. That was a fun post to leave up for nearly a week, huh?
Since the past few have been so serious and I've been so behind on posting pictures, this post is almost entirely dedicated to pictures of what we've been doing for fun around these parts lately.
Earlier this month, my mom, dad, Jes, Caleb, Piper and I packed up and went to the Dallas Arboretum. We had so much fun wandering around and checking out the pretty scenery. We got a few cute pictures to.

Caleb sitting on a pumpkin. After this picture, taken as we had just walked in the door, he felt like he needed to sit on EVERY pumpkin and have his picture taken. Silly boy.

There was also a little hut on the grounds where they had lots of dried chilis hanging from the ceiling. It was a place to go in, so Caleb loved it and had yet another picture taken.

This is just the best picture of Caleb, I wish Piper was looking up too. It's cute, nonetheless.


Our boy in the pumpkins.

"Mama, come get me!!!" This is the face and posture I see from Piper on a regular basis when she is trying to get to me from someone else.

Jes and his mini-me.

There is this pretty fountain on the grounds and they turn it into a pumpkin throwing area. If you can reach a pumpkin and pull it out you can throw it. All the boys got into the action and took a turn. My dad was nice enough to fish a couple out so Caleb could do it too.

Jes throwing a pumpkin and Caleb "helping".

All of us in front of a pumpkin made of impatients/pansies/who knows...

I still can't remember what this contraption was called, my dad knew, but I do remember that it was use to plant seeds.

My dad teaching Caleb and little something about hard work.

Yet another of Piper's priceless expressions. She looks like I interrupted a conversation between her and her daddy.
Last Friday, I packed up the kids and we made our annual trek to the pumpkin farm just north of us in Celina. It was really cold that day, so we were able to get pictures that looked a little more "fallish" than the ones at the Arboretum

Caleb and Piper waiting for my to get all our stuff together so we could go. Can you tell Caleb was excited? He had been talking about this all week, and really still is.

We finally made it and after convincing Caleb that he was indeed too big for his old stroller, I bundled Piper up and plopped her in. I was unsure how she would do in it, but there was no way I was going to try to maneuver the sit and stand stroller over the hill and rocks that exist at our favorite pumpkin patch. Turns out, she loved her new ride and actually fell asleep at one point.

The cats at the pumpkin patch see so many people that they are super friendly. Our cat, Gus, is just like a normal cat and only lets you pet him on his terms. Caleb was thrilled that this cat just sat there and let him pet him.

On the hay bales.

Driving the tractor. Last year, this was the source of the pumpkin patch time out. This year, he hopped right off when I told him his time was up and the next person wanted their turn. Good boy!

Feeding the goats.

The sheep that stole his food. This guy made my guy cry. Stupid sheep.

Feeding the longhorn! You guys knew that I had to get this shot!

Caleb and Piper. My babies.

Caleb and his friends on the atv.

All of us before the melt down.

We went on the hay ride and I just could not figure out why Caleb was posing so much with this little guy next to him. Turns out, it is one of the 2 Jackson's in his class at school.

Us on the hayride. Minutes before it all broke loose and Piper started screaming and Caleb couldn't handle it anymore.

Caleb picking out his pumpkin to take home.

Last shot of the 2 of them.

Caleb with the turkey.

Sunday, we decided to get the pumpkin seeds and roast them. Jes had to take the top off because I couldn't get it off without nearly taking my hand off in the process.

Digging out the insides.

Getting all the seeds.

The pumpkin carvers.

This has nothing to do with our fall outings, it's just Caleb's first cake that he made. I wanted to preserve a picture for posterity so that someday he could look back and say that he indeed knows how to bake. Well, at least from a box!